Reidbury's Kitchen

Food thoughts, recipes and billowing smoke from a home cook's kitchen in London


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Lemon & Courgette Chicken Skewers

Lemon Chicken and Courgette Skewers

Lemon Chicken and Courgette Skewers

So I’m going to be a little bit virtuous over the next few weeks in the food that I cook. I’ve decided to join Weight Watchers to kick start my healthy eating regime. I’m pretty surprised I joined actually, as ordinarily I’m a big believer in ‘everything in moderation, including moderation’, but a friend recommended it to me and she’s quite similar to me in terms of food, cooking and health! At first I was a little bit concerned that my healthy eating might make this blog a little dull, but I’m actually thinking it might be a nice challenge. Can I find recipes that are genuinely good for you (and low in points!) but that still pack a punch in terms of flavour? It’s early days, but there are certainly recipes out there that seem to strike that balance. In fact, the Pork Bun Cha I made here is a really good example – massive flavour, and only 11 points. To the non Weight Watcher, that’s quite good for a dinner! The one thing, though, that I’ve realised quickly is that portion size is critical. So bear in mind that the servings guide is pretty strict…if you’re not fussed about calorie counting, take those with a pinch of salt!

The first Weight Watchers recipe I tried was Lemon & Courgette Chicken Skewers and, on the whole, was a great success. The flavours are lovely and light, it’s really quick and simple to make for a midweek dinner and it’s good for you. I served with couscous and the recommended portion size for this was 30g per person! That’s about half of what I’d usually do, which looked quite stingy on the plate but actually did fill me up! But you only get 1 skewer per person – I cheated and had two, but even with the extra skewer the total points for dinner were 7. Good stuff! They do ask you to thread the chicken onto rosemary stalks as skewers – erm, no. Not my idea of fun so I stuck with my metal skewers to save my sanity!

KB rating 7/10. PR rating 7.5/10

WW Points: 2 points per skewer.

Lemon Chicken with Courgette Skewers (serves 4 but see note above)

Ingredients:

  • 2 x 125g skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 2 tbsp 0% fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 1 tsp clear honey
  • Juice half a small lemon
  • 8 rosemary sprigs (leaves stripped) – if using, see note above
  • 3 large spring onions, cut into thick diagonal slices
  • 1 small courgette, peeled into ribbons (use a peeler or mandolin)

Method:

Put the chicken into a bowl with the yogurt, mint, honey and lemon. Turn to coat and season.

Thread onto the rosemary sprigs (if using), alternating with the spring onion and a ribbon of courgette. Barbecue or griddle over a low heat for 10-12 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through.

Serve with couscous.

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Thai Chicken with Basil and Chillies – Old School Style!

Thai Chicken with Basil & Chillies

Thai Chicken with Basil & Chillies

Whilst I was at home over Easter I had my obligatory hour or so looking at all of Momma Bury’s cookbooks. She’s got hundreds and whilst my Dad might not fully understand why she keeps ‘needing’ to acquire more, I can’t help but agree with her! Cookbooks sit on the shelf, full of possibility, and sometimes they are like little historical artefacts that take you back in time and remind you of your previous food phases. And as I was flicking through the bookshelves  I saw a book that took me right back to my youth – it’s a dated looking book called Home from Work Suppers by Sara Buenfield and if you want to see the retro cover it’s available here. I remember my Mum re-finding her love of cooking and I’m sure it was around the time she bought this book. There’s actually some lovely recipes in there, but the one I remember being a favourite when I was around 15 was Thai Chicken with Basil and Chillies. It was slightly ahead of it’s time – nowadays there’s huge volumes dedicated to every type of Asian cuisine, but this recipe still had to describe what fish sauce is, and how to substitute it if you can’t get hold of it. Now I LOVE Thai food, and so does Paul, so I wanted to see if this recipe would live up to my memory, especially given the ingredients that are now so prevalent in even the smallest of supermarkets (galangal, palm sugar and the like). 

Now, whilst I wouldn’t say this recipe is the best to try if you want to turn your hand to an authentic Thai stirfry, it is a really tasty stirfry that’s quick to make and easy to eat. And it’s one that I’ll cook again. Paul liked it which was important, but I loved it as it took me right back to the kitchen in Bolton where I’d help Mum with the preparation and Dad would dig out the wok!

KB rating 8.75/10. PR rating 8.25/10. (He said it would’ve been higher if I’d added more chilli)

Thai Chicken with Basil and Chillies (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1-2 fresh green chillies (I used 2, and whilst it might have been the strength of my particular chillies, I felt it needed a bigger heat kick)
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 90g sugar snap peas or mangetouts
  • 4 spring onions
  • 7g fresh basil
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar

Method:

First prepare all the ingredients, as there’s not much cooking time. Slice the chicken into bite-sized strips. Chop the garlic, seed and finely chop the chillies and roughly chop the red pepper. Top and tail the sugar snaps or mangetouts. Chop the spring onion at a slight angle to make fine shreds. Shred the basil.

Mix the cornflour with the fish sauce until smooth.

Heat the oil in a wok over a high heat until very hot and then toss in the chicken, garlic, chillies and stir fry for 2 minutes until the chicken changes colour.

Add the red pepper, sugarsnaps/mangetouts, spring onions, ground coriander and sugar and stir fry for 4-5 minutes. Stir the cornflour mixture before pouring over the chicken and vegetables, stirring constantly until the juices thicken.

Throw in the basil and remove from the heat. Serve immediately with jasmine rice.


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Jerk Chicken with Rice & Peas

I’m not sure why, but I always get some smug satisfaction when I have meat that’s marinating in the fridge. Something to do with me being organised enough to have prepared something a whole 24 hours before I plan on cooking it! One of my favourite marinaded meals is Jerk Chicken. Now, I have no idea how authentic this recipe is and can’t remember where I found it, but apparently the history of this dish is very varied and there’s a lot of flexibility on the exact spice blend anyway. But it is said there’s one rule for Jerk seasoning – don’t skimp on spices, even if you choose to reduce the heat. In my world, anything that tastes and smells as good as this is a winner!

And whilst you don’t have to marinate overnight, you should definitely marinate for 4 hours minimum.

Serve with Rice and Peas and add a little sunshine to your plate during these grey, winter months!

Jerk Chicken 

Ingredients

  • 2 Scotch bonnet peppers (heat is pretty important here, but reduce if needed)
  • 3 spring onions, diced
  • 1  large white onion, diced
  • 1.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1.5 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp ground thyme
  • 1.5 tsp ground sage
  • 0.75 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 0.75 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 0.75 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 60ml soy sauce
  • 60ml dark rum
  • 175ml white vinegar
  • 120ml orange juice
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1kg chicken pieces – skin on, bone-in thighs and drumsticks give the best flavour

Method

Put all the ingredients, apart from the chicken, into a blender and blitz until smooth.

Put the chicken into a large freezer bag and pour over the marinade. It’s helpful to place the freezer bag into a bowl to stop any leakage, and then leave in the fridge for anywhere between 4 and 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180C and put the chicken skin side up on a roasting tray. Roast until cooked through (about 45 mins) turning over once halfway through the process.

Rice & Peas

Ingredients

  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 300ml long grain rice (measure in a measuring jug, as weight doesn’t really work with this absorption method)
  • 400ml water
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 400g tin kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tbps fresh thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh coriander, to garnish

Method

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion until translucent.

Add the rice, stir well and add the water and coconut milk. Bring to the boil.

Add the kidney beans and thyme, simmer, and cover, for about 20 minutes until the rice is cooked. Season with the salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve garnished with the coriander.